The Divorce Diet by Ellen HawleyPublished: December 30, 2014Publisher: KensingtonPages: 240Received: for honest review via TLC Book ToursThe Divorce Diet is dedicated to every woman who ever walked away from a relationship—or a diet.
Abigail, an inspired cook and stay-at-home mother, decides to repair the problems in her marriage with a diet book for herself and an elaborate birthday dinner for her husband. But over dinner her husband announces that the whole marriage thing just doesn’t work for him. Reeling, she packs up her baby, her cookbooks, and her single estate extra virgin olive oil and moves in with her parents while she looks for work and child care.Floundering and broke in this life she didn’t choose, she turns for guidance and emotional support to the internalized voice of her diet book, and it becomes her invisible guru. While she struggles to reconcile the joy she takes in cooking with the book’s joyless and increasingly bizarre recipes and her native good sense with its advice, she works her way from one underpaid job to the next, eats everything but what her diet book recommends, and swears to get her life in order before her daughter’s old enough to create long-term memories.
Her diet book has promised to help her become the person she wants to be, but it’s only when she strikes out on her own that she figures out who that is.
I loved the title of this book. It was perfect for the concept and story. There's nothing like being on a diet, except going through a divorce at the same time. Funny enough, Abigail started her diet on the same day that her husband, Thad*, decides to end things. She had only picked up the book to help her look good for him since she still had a little baby weight kicking around.*Sidenote: I despise the name Thad. It sounds pretentious, but it was a great name for her estranged husband.
During the course of the book, Abby reads the different chapters and recipes in her diet book only to find that she can't bring herself to actually eat the things described in the book and she imagines her little diet fairy verbally kicking her butt when she doesn't take the life change seriously enough. Considering the diet is supposed to help her lose weight, it's funny that she pretty much just shed 170 pounds of husband in one day. Congrats Abigail on the huge loss. Now to enjoy the journey that is ahead of you.
I loved following Abby through her daily thoughts beginning with the day everything changed to when she finally realizes she doesn't need to pine away for her former life - the one filled with luxury. Over the course of about 30 days, you see her going from sounding dependent on Thad for the life she wanted to realizing the life she had wasn't all it was cracked up to be and figuring out that she wants more for her baby, Rosie.
It also might help to point out that Abby loves to cook. And she loves to cook with expensive foods from remote places in foreign countries. It's almost as though she became a food snob in her previous life. But with the help of this life journey, she realizes you can still be an amazing cook, enjoy food and be a more likable person. Throughout the book you read about the amazing dishes that Abigail creates and at the end of the book some of the recipes are listed for the reader to try out.
During this life journey, you tend to go from cheering her on to yelling at her for being so insanely petty about things and then back to cheering her on. It's a big transformation for Abby and overall I think it's the best thing that could have ever happened to her - the Divorce Diet was just what the doctor ordered.
And if that doesn't get you to pick up a copy - I just have to let you know that I dogeared pages in my copy. Seriously, the queen of post its, sticky tabs and bookmarks, actually dogeared multiple pages to remember certain quotes and passages that made me really enjoy this book. What are you waiting for? Don't you want to see how Abby's life turns out? I only told you about the first 30 days, but there is so much more that happens in this life journey of hers.
About the Author:
Ellen Hawley has published two previous novels, Open Line (Coffee House Press, 2008) and Trip Sheets (Milkweed Editions, 1998). She has worked as an editor and copy editor, a creative writing teacher, a talk show host, a cab driver, a waitress, an assembler, a janitor, a file clerk, and for four panic-filled hours a receptionist. She lived in Minnesota for forty years and now lives in Cornwall, where she feeds a blog—as well as two cats, one dog, one partner, and any friends who stop by. Awards include a Writer’s Voice Capricorn Award, a Minnesota State Arts Board Grant, and a Loft-McKnight Award.